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How to Inspect Your Flower

What to Look for and How to Know if it's Good or Not

Not all cannabis is grown equally. Different cultivators utilize different methods for cultivating cannabis, and in some cases, state laws create the rules and boundaries for growing cannabis. That said, it is important to make sure that the cannabis you are going to purchase is quality cannabis

High quality cannabis flower is generally known as “top-shelf”, and a low quality cannabis flower is generally known as “low-grade”. Because the industry is still young and overall still finding its way, standards for quality control may vary across states. This piece is a 101 guide, a starting point, for things to look for when inspecting your cannabis/marijuana flower. 

The Main Things to Check for When Looking at Cannabis/ Marijuana Flower

See, smell, feel are the general ways that the masses pick their next few grams, eighths, quarters, etc. They say “the nose doesn’t lie” and when it comes to most things in life, it doesn’t. Being able to look closely at the flower, seeing the vibrant colors, the frosty trichomes, and checking for stems is pretty traditional in the cannabis flower selection process.

Feeling/touching the cannabis flower is tradition as well. Many like to feel the density and the stickiness of the flower. Experienced consumers understand that a dense nug of cannabis flower means that the plant was fed good food and nutrients. Many don’t want dry and brittle flower because that's a sign of low quality cannabis flower. 

The certificate of analysis (COA) is another way to identify quality cannabis flower. A COA is a document that outlines what was found in the cannabis flower that was tested. The tests are usually conducted by a third-party/independent lab, and the tests provide information like: cannabinoids found, terpenes found, potency, etc.

It’s important to note that in some cities/states, pre packaged cannabis flower is the only way to shop in a dispensary. While there are still many jars opening for the nose to make the flowers acquaintance, many are moving away from that (I think covid played a big role in the pre-packaged flower game). Pre packaged flower also makes it difficult to see the flower. Though jars and bags allow consumers to see the flower because many are clear/see through, it still makes it hard to see, feel , and smell and for decades, that’s how many of us choose.

inspect hemp flower
Learn how to inspect your flower

Ways to Identify Quality Cannabis/ Marijuana Flower While Consuming

If the purchase of cannabis flower was made from pre packaged selections, then the above may have been hard to inspect. There are ways to tell if you are smoking quality cannabis flower by checking for the following:

  • Smoke and ash: checking for these 2 can tell the smoker if they are smoking quality cannabis. Black ash could mean that chemicals were used in the cultivation of that plant, or that the plant wasn’t flushed, or there is still lots of moisture- indicating that the flower wasn’t cured right.
  • Harsh smoke that burns the throat- could be a sign that chemicals were used.
  • The taste: if a strain is called blueberry anything, then the smoker will be able to taste the fruit if the flower being smoked is quality cannabis flower. 

In Closing
The more you know, the better. It used to be that we just took the word of the “plug”, but with cannabis legalization sweeping the nation, we can make informed decisions by doing a bit of our own research. How do you inspect your flower to ensure it’s quality cannabis flower? Let us now in the comments.

About Veronica Castillo

Veronica Castillo is a writer from Miami, with a pre-Cannabis background in insurance and human resources. She advocates, writes about, and educates on the topic of cannabis and hemp for overall life. Currently, she is a resident of the road exploring all thing’s cannabis and hemp in the United States, with plans to travel abroad in exploration of cannabis and hemp culture in other countries.


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